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Reviews of what you should be reading next.

Tag: Jenna Scali

A Painting To Die For by Joan C. Curtis

Jenna’s quiet weekend turns upside down when she returns home to find her house totally ransacked, and the police uncover a dead body with her name in its possession. Meanwhile her long-lost cousins show up on her doorstep with stories about stolen paintings, hidden masterpieces—worth millions, Mafia friends, and much more.

While Jenna questions the motives of her dead father in connection to the stolen art, the police find a second body with Jenna’s name in its possession, and she becomes the primary suspect in two murder inquiries. Sidestepping the police and dodging the mob, she and her best friend, Quentin, embark on their own investigation to save themselves and Jenna’s lying, double-crossing cousins from untimely deaths.
A Painting to Die For forms a web of deceit that leaves Jenna doubting everything she believes about her father and his Italian family.

Thank you, Joan, for the review copy!

A PAINTING TO DIE FOR is amateur detective Jenna Scali’s third outing.

She is back at it again, when she gets dragged into another mystery – this time by her duplicitous cousins asking her help to locate a missing painting. Before you know it, she is getting involved with another kind of Family and dragging her best friend Quentin along with her on a wild goose chase. She is as stubborn as ever, hiding her activities from her cop boyfriend as needed. She is also very patient – I would have walked away from her crazy cousins without a second glance. This is where most of my frustration with this story lies; the dialogue and actions of her family are circuitous and vague. I understand that is all with the intention to further the plot, and I will say if Curtis’ intention was to make the reader want to shake Joey & Co until their teeth fell out, she has succeeded! However, it is my opinion that some of the round and round could have been trimmed and the plot wouldn’t have suffered one bit.

I did enjoy the bits of art and Italian history mixed in – it shows that the author has done her research. We also get to learn more about Jenna’s heritage, which makes her character more familiar to us. She is becoming more mature also, as we see her concentrating on her schoolwork and career. Curtis has done an excellent job giving Jenna another layer of personality. A character that doesn’t grow in a series is dull and makes all the books the same. She is still the same sarcastic girl we know and love! Quentin and Starr seem to have taken a back seat to the rotten cousins, which may be why this book seemed different to me. Jenna is still supported by her co-stars, but they don’t seem to be shining through as with the other adventures.

There were some suspenseful parts towards the end, and a few twists that always make for good reading. That being said, I was happy to see her cousins in the rear view mirror at the end of A PAINTING TO DIE FOR. I’d love to see what Jenna will get herself mixed up with in the next installment!

Want your own copy? You can pick it up [easyazon_link identifier=”B0762D2X2Z” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

 

Murder on Moonshine Hill by Joan C Curtis

murder on moon

When Jenna decides to go to a friend’s wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts, and she expects to see people from her past, but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body.
Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer.
Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina, Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.

 

Thanks to the author for gifting me this review copy!

One of my favorite things about this book is the extensive cast. From ex-best friend to spoiled trophy wife, author Joan Curtis displays her masterful knowledge of character development. Everyone has an agenda – some are selfish, some are hidden, and one in particular is the thing that Jenna is trying to discover.

Imagine getting a wedding invitation from your best friend – the one that broke your heart when she dropped you like a hot potato after a death in the family. Would you turn a blind eye to the snub to see her on the happiest day of her life? Reluctant at first, Jenna decides to go after a hidden plea for help drops out of the invitation envelope. She becomes immersed in the extensive family drama swirling around the joyous (or not) event, and soon it is up to her to save her friend’s life. Even if her friend doesn’t want to be saved.

Curtis enjoys the setting of North Carolina; it’s evident in the loving and descriptive way she describes the scenery. When a book is written in a way where the setting complements the plot, that adds another level of enjoyment to my reading.

Jenna’s friend Quentin is adorably protective of her, often deflecting her overbearing mom’s attention away from her and onto himself, using tried-and-true methods that had me laughing. What girl doesn’t need a Queer Eye For The Straight Girl BFF?

Another hallmark of Curtis’ writing is that the villain is not always obvious. My mental finger was pointed at quite a few people before the troublemaker was finally exposed. I love when a book is written in this manner; my interest is held all the way until the end, no early boredom sets in!

Jenna’s character is not without flaws – she is a strong woman with feelings that can be hurt, as demonstrated in her internal dialogues detailing her confusion and sorrow after her childhood girlfriend suddenly vanishes from her life without an explanation. Most of us have been there in some way or another – but we may never get the chance for closure like Jenna does.

I strongly recommend picking up this book; it’s an easy, well written mystery that will keep you entertained all the way through. You can pick up your own copy [easyazon_link identifier=”B01HWOR4J6″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″]here[/easyazon_link].

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